This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Bulbous herbs with erect slender terete usually branched stems and elongated linear folded leaves. Flowers rather large, in our species blue or purple, solitary or several together, fugacious, subtended by 2 herbaceous bracts. Perianth of 6 spreading nearly equal obovate segments, distinct nearly or quite to the summit of the ovary. Filaments more or less united; anthers short; style short, its branches alternate with the anthers, each slenderly 2-parted; stigmas small, terminal. Capsule oblong, ovoid or obovoid, loculicidally dehiscent at the summit. [Greek, referring to the thread-like style-branches.]
Ixia acuta Bart. Fl. N. A. 2: 89. pl. 66. 1822. Nemastylis gemmiflora Nutt. Trans. Am. Phil. Soc. (II.)
5: 157. 1833-37. Nemastylis acuta Herb. Bot. Mag. pl. 3779. 1839-40.
Bulb dark colored, ovoid, scaly, 1' or less long. Stem 1°-2° tall, bearing 3 or 4 leaves, 3'-10' long, 1 1/2"-2 1/2" wide; bracts lanceolate, each pair subtending 1 or 2 flowers; flowers light blue or purple, 1-2' broad; pedicels slender, rather shorter than the bracts; perianth-segments oblong-obovate, obtuse; style-branches exserted between the free parts of the filaments, their filiform divisions 2"-3" long; capsule obovoid, 5"-6" high, 3"-4" in diameter.
Nemastylis coelestina Nutt., ranging from Georgia to Arkansas and Texas, may occur in southern Missouri; it differs from N. acuta in having more broadly obovate perianth-lobes.